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This Australian was a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II who rose to the rank of Squadron Leader. Decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, Tony Gaze was credited with 12.5 "kills" during his time flying Spitfires. Although he was shot down over Northern France in 1943, he survived and escaped back to England to fly again.
Goodwood Motor Circuit
Gaze was stationed at Tangmere aerodrome in West Sussex where he was a contemporary of renowned English pilot Douglas Bader. Legend has it that when not flying, he and other RAF officers (including another racing driver believed to be Dickie Stoop) spent their time racing MGs around another nearby airfield at Westhampnett. So when the British Automobile Racing Club looked for a new venue to replace Brooklands after the war, it was Gaze who suggested the renamed Goodwood aerodrome as a perfect solution.
Grands Prix with HWM
The venue opened in 1948 just as Gaze began to race seriously. He drove a Formula 2 Alta from 1951 and joined HWM for the following season. With the 1952 World Championship run to F2 rules, Gaze entered four Grand Prix races for John Heath’s team. He finished a career-best 15th on his debut in Belgium, retired from his next two races before failing to qualify for the Italian GP.
He then raced sports cars for a couple of years and his Kangaroo Stable Aston Martin DB3S finished the 1955 Hyères 12 Hours in second position. His last European start was in the 1956 Le Mans 24 Hours but co-driver and old friend Stoop crashed their works Frazer Nash at the Esses in the 10th hour.
Gaze continued to race in Australia before taking up farming. With his unique place in the history of Goodwood, it is no surprise that he was a welcome visitor to its historic meetings in his latter years.